Why parents should keep an eye on Instagram




Posted on June 27, 2012 at 7:13 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 27 at 7:24 AM

DALLAS — Even if you don't use Facebook or Twitter, you know what they are.

But what about Instagram?

We're willing to bet your children not only know about it, but they use the free photo-sharing app for smartphones and tablets.

It all seems pretty harmless, but some parents fear their children are also finding trouble.

Instagram has become another online playground for 13-year-old Juliette Campbell and her friends, where they can post pictures and comments. "Most of them who have an iPhone have Instagram," she said.

It's the new place to be. Instagram lets users take photos and share them on other social networking sites through their smartphones and tablets.

Juliette got permission from her mom to open an account. "My account is private, so like people — like somebody I don't know tries to follow me, I will ignore them," she said.

Amy Campbell monitors her daughter's Instagram offerings on a daily basis, but she still worries. "It's scary," she said. "I think the immediacy of it kind of might impair people's judgment sometimes because it is so split-second... that you take a picture, you hit a button, and it's gone."

There are other concerns, too.

"People having pictures, girls in bathing suits... anything that can be percieved suggestive or immodest, those type of things. That really bothers me for all of our girls," Campbell said.

Also troubling her is a second account Juliette opened for her favorite pop group, One Direction. There, she accepts everyone.

Juliette is connected to hundreds of followers, from friends to strangers.

"It's a risky situation to be interacting with people she has no clue who they are or where they are from or what their intentions are," Campbell said.

During our visit, a quick scan of that account found comments laced with sex and obscenities.

"Foul language, suggestive language... very descriptive, gross stuff, and isn't appropriate for her age," Campbell said.

It's a challenge for this modern mom trying to keep track of her child's life online, but she has recruited other parents to get involved.

"I do think moms help each other out, parents help each other out with alerting each other with something we need to look out for," Campbell said.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com